Plastic Ban Effect: Food and Beverages companies exploring alternative packaging solutions

July 4, 2018

Beverages, processed foods and alcohol companies have started looking for alternative packaging solutions, including glass, to reduce use of plastic on mounting concerns over plastic waste, and possible bans by more state governments after Maharashtra.

Companies like Pepsi-Co, Cremica Food Industries, and Allied Blenders and Distillers are considering to increase use of glass in packaging, they feel adopting collaborative technology to recycle waste is the best way to deal with the plastic waste menace, particularly considering challenges of adopting alternative solutions. For example, glass costs much more than plastic, it can break, and it’s in short supply.

PepsiCo plans to scale up non-returnable glass bottles that it uses for its no-sugar drink Pepsi Black, and is piloting a 100% compostable, plant-based packaging for snacks products. Of course India will be among the first countries to pilot this new, sustainable packaging solution which is biobased, made from plant-based material and is 100% compostable.  The company plans to launch this pilot for Lay’s and Kurkure snacks products in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Hindustan National Glass & Industries (HNG), the country’s largest maker of glass containers and bottles informed that the company is getting an increasing number of queries on glass capacity. HNG supplies to PepsiCo, Nestle, Hindustan Unilever and PernodRicard among others.

Over the past four months, regulations for the ban on plastic packaging have been changed three times in Maharashtra. The latest notification by the state government issued on June 30 bans all PET bottles smaller than 200 ml, directly impacting sectors such as liquor and processed foods. Industry insiders said other states may also bring in similar bans, possibly other sizes.

Processed foods maker Cremica Food Industries is limiting plastic consumption in different ways by reducing laminate in packaging. Glass is a preferred option for environmental wellbeing, and the company is looking at viable options with balance costs of which increase with glass packaging.

While it was not possible to change packaging for Amul milk sold in pouches, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) is minimising use of plastic-based packaging for beverages such as flavoured milk under its Amul Kool franchise. Making use of glass, tin cans and Tetra Pak for beverages other than the regular milk sold pouches.

Parle Agro said growth in the beverage industry will continue in both Tetra Pak and PET bottles. Glass has been de-growing for many years due to inconvenient package format, especially for young consumers.The maker of Frooti mango drink will undertake “proactive campaigns to building awareness towards waste management.

However, the issue at hand is not going to be resolved by moving to glass bottles.Returning bulky or large number of glass bottles is not a feasible option for modern trade and organised wholesalers due to high costs involved. Globally, the trend is moving from glass to recyclable and lighter packaging.

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